Author Topic: Everett A. "Nick" Nichol - Friend and Confidant for more than 50 years  (Read 2077 times)

Offline JC Spencer

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Everett A. "Nick" Nichol - Friend and Confidant for more than 50 years
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 07:10:29 PM »
Everett A. “Nick” Nichol - August 16, 1927 - December 17, 2012

by JC Spencer

Nick was a close friend and confidant for more than fifty years. His family asked me to conduct his funeral. On December 21, 2012, the winter solstice, end of the Mayan calendar, the day many thought the world would end, I related to family and friends the following:

I loved Nick like a brother for over half a century and yet we were on opposite ends of the political and religious spectrums. Nick and I became friends in 1961 shortly after I returned from a photographic expedition in Africa and moved to Houston from Missouri. He owned a camera store in Pasadena and we worked together for many years processing film, printing giant quality Agfa color photographs for display and publication, and developing scientific breakthroughs in light and color.  Nick was what I called a studious perfectionist of color and graphics and a philosophical pragmatist in life.

Nick loved his family of three girls, son, and grandchildren. His son, Don, died in December when he was only 18 and his wife passed one year ago in December. He and Marie were married for 61 years.

In all my years of knowing Nick, I never saw him angry and we never argued. We had many interesting debates but we never argued. Some traumatic event happened when he was a small boy that turned him against God. I mentioned that fact to him which he acknowledged was true, but he never told me nor his family what that event was. It may be that Nick blamed God that his father died when he was only two. But, it was probably a trusted relative that in some way hurt him.

In the late 60s or early 70s, I remember Nick arrived at my home around 9 o’clock and asked me what I had been doing that morning. I responded, “I have been back in our bedroom on my knees praying for you and God has given me assurance and a peace that you will accept Jesus as your personal Saviour before you die.” Desiring to immediately change the subject, he pointed to a book on the table and asked what it was about. He pointed to the book “Taste of New Wine” which was written by a Texas businessman and Episcopal layman, Keith Miller. “The book challenges indifference and creates an exciting sense of spiritual renewal and adventure. He doesn’t write with religious jargon but he has experienced the real presence of God and has given his heart to the Lord Jesus.”

Nick said, “I have been here three minutes and I get all this already.” The rest of the day was quite harmonious as we continued on with the business at hand.

One day, he asked me why did I believe the Bible.  When I said, “Because I want to.”, he replied that he could not argue with that. He thought I was going to defend my position with some long theological dissertation. For more than five decades, he would probe my mind of spiritual matters. He knew that I was not the judge and that I accepted him where he was. We agreed on a lot of things. We agreed that politicians would soon be extinct if they were hemmed in by truth.

After his son died, Nick went to church for a while but soon dropped out. He told me that the reason he did not go to church was that the church was filled with hypocrites. My response to his pragmatic conclusion was, “Nick, if a hypocrite comes between you and God, it only means that he is closer to God than you are.”

He explained to me that “religion” is the curse of the planet. I am sure he was shocked at my response, “Religion IS the problem.” Then I added, “We should not seek after religion. We are to seek a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

Today we celebrate the life of Nick Nichol. Today is the shortest day of the year, our winter solstice, the day the Mayan calendar ended.  It was not because they ran out of stone. The calendar ended on December 21, 2012 because today is a significant day in the heavens. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where the voice of the heavens is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3). Over the years, when Nick would repeatedly declare there is no God, I would point to the heavens and ask him if he thought all that just happened. How many years would you have to shake a box containing all the parts of a watch before a watch would appear?

The universe is a perfectly timed clock from one end of heaven to the other. Nick saw that. I would have loved to have discussed with Nick the significance of this day. The position of the constellations this day was mentioned in the Bible and perfectly matches the Mayan calendar as the end of a cycle and the beginning of the next. We are entering a new time and God is getting ready to do a new work. I do not pretend to understand all that is ahead but we are living in the most exciting time in all history and children will play a significant role in what is ahead.

Woven into our personal relationship was our mutual love for photography, technology, and many things in science in general. Together we developed color technology and implemented it into practice. We developed a lighting technique for color photography that had never been done before. We had lots of fun with it and Nick taught me a new word, “ACTINIC”. We developed a lighting technique that was a higher actinic quality than sunlight. With this process we were able to bring out colors in film you could not see with the naked eye. The high actinic quality of light revealed wood grains and oils of master art pieces invisible to the human eye and allowed us to capture that brilliance on film. Nick relished in what we were able to accomplish.

With the light source which we called the “atomic flash” we learned how to capture color and detail in interior and exterior architecture that seemed to break the laws of physics. In truth, we were using an unwritten Law of Light. With one flash, we could light any size building from top to bottom, left to right for hundreds of feet without loss of exposure. For interior pictures, we learned how to light and photograph a room full of objects including tables and chairs without having a shadow behind a single table or chair leg.  It was the actinic quality of the light that was more important than the amount of light. The intensity of light, captured on film, immediately in front of the camera was the same as a hundred feet away. To achieve this “impossible feat,” only one f-stop would work. And, only one light source flash would work. It was vital that the light go through a tiny precise aperture. And, two sources of light would destroy the image and result in an out-of-focus picture.

Our lighting technique opened many a theological and biblical discussion. “Nick did you know the Bible mentions there are no shadows in heaven? God’s Light is the highest actinic quality of perfection. We are but little candles but when the Holy Spirit fills us, the Light in us can reach the whole world.”

Nick was strong willed, consistent, dependable, not quick to change, very stubborn, and exercised a level of patience from which we could all learn. He chain smoked and would probably have died a number of years sooner had he not quit smoking.  He stopped simply by self-will. He taught me computers and was patient with me when I became frustrated. Before computers, we had a bank of upright electric typewriters operated with pneumatic tubes and the program was a yellow roll of piano paper. To correct an error required Scotch tape and a hole puncher. Together Nick and I pioneered some interesting things in science. Our first mobile phone was rotary dial.

I gave Nick the book, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. He never mentioned if he read it or not. We discussed that C. S. Lewis led J. R. R. Tolkien to faith in Jesus which gave birth to The Lord of the Rings and his other works.

It was perhaps in the 52nd year of our relationship that I told Nick that I felt strongly that his grandmother had prayed for his salvation. He responded, “And my mother.”

Sunday afternoon December 16, 2012, I headed to Webster to visit my wife’s 97 year old mother. I planned to stop by and visit Nick and perhaps take him out to a nearby restaurant as we had done so many times.  We loved to have meals together and had many breakfasts at Kelly’s, Denny’s, and The Egg & I. One morning as I joined him for breakfast, I said, "Nick, I just learned the secret to all future blessings. Would you like to guess what it is?"

Nick responded, "If I believed, I would say it is, 'Thank you Lord.'"

I started to call Nick on my cell when I noticed that I had missed a call from him. His daughter, Anita, answered the phone and I told her that I was headed over to see Nick. “How is he doing?”

She told me that it was good that I was coming over. He was active even yesterday but had taken a nose-dive after the doctor diagnosed him with advanced leukemia and an eight-centimeter brain tumor. He was not expected to live more than a few hours. His daughter, Nikki, was flying in from Nashville and would be here around 6 o’clock and he was holding on until she got there. I told Anita to tell him I was on my way and for him to wait until I got there.

Nick was setting in a recliner in the living room and was in and out of consciousness. I took his hand. The next hour was precious as Anita, Tony, and I told him he was loved. “It is time for you to ask Jesus to welcome you with open arms,” I said. Anita said, “Tony talked with him about that and we believe he has already done that.” There was silence to absorb the content of what I just heard.

Then I recalled to him the time I was visiting a Houston medical doctor by the name of John Nance who had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. I had told Nick the story before but it was worth repeating at this time.

I asked Dr. Nance if he had ever accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour. He responded, “I’m not worthy.” I told him that I wasn’t worthy either but salvation is a gift. He said, “But you don’t understand. I killed a quarter of a million people. I’m the one who dropped bombs on cities in Germany in World War II and I killed a quarter of a million people. I’m not worthy.”

“John,” I said, “the thief on the cross certainly was not worthy either but he turned to Jesus as he was dying and said ‘Jesus, remember me.’”

As tears streamed down the face of Dr. Nance and my face, he said, “Jesus, remember me.” That is how simple it is. God loves us right where we are and he loves us so much that He will not leave us where we are. After recalling this experience to Nick, I hugged his neck and told him how much he was loved. Nikki had just landed at Hobby Airport and would soon arrive. I believe it was at this point that Nick nodded that he knew she was coming to be with him. I wanted to leave so they could be together.

To the daughters I mentioned that Karen and I had given their father the book, “Heaven Is For Real” about Colton Burpo who experienced heaven and returned with many confirming evidences that heaven is for real. Innocent children will lead many into the Kingdom because their words are pure and profound. I asked if Nick had read the book. They said “Yes, he read the book and so did we.”

I held Nick’s hand in mine and prayed with him and the family, thanking God for the peace and love that filled the room. Providence had brought Nick and me together over half a century ago because of the prayers of a godly mother and grandmother. “Thank you Father for Nick’s praying mother and grandmother. Thank you that today their prayers are answered.”

Nick rested during the night and breathed his last breath at 8:24 Monday morning December 17, 2012.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:26:22 PM by JC Spencer »